Modeling the effect of water chemistry on the bioaccumulation of waterborne cadmium in zebra mussels

TitleModeling the effect of water chemistry on the bioaccumulation of waterborne cadmium in zebra mussels
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsBourgeault A, Gourlay-Francé C, Tusseau-Vuillemin M-H
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Date Published07/2010
KeywordsCadmium bioavailability, Filtration rate, Predictive model, Uptake rate constant, Zebra mussel
The present study aims at investigating the effects of Zn, Ca, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) on the waterborne Cd bioaccumulation of a freshwater bivalve (Dreissena polymorpha). Mussels were exposed for 48 h at 3 µg/L of Cd in different media. Their physiological activities were assessed by separately measuring the filtration rate in the same exposure water. Increased Zn (from 3 to 89 µg/L) and Ca (from 37 to 131 mg/L) concentrations in water led to a threefold and sevenfold reduction of Cd bioaccumulation, whereas the effect of DOC varied greatly depending on its concentration. At low DOC concentrations (from 0.2 to 1.1 mg/L), the uptake of Cd increased, whereas at higher concentrations (from 1.1 to 17.1 mg/L), the uptake decreased. The filtration activity was not strongly influenced by either Zn or Ca concentration, whereas it was modified in enriched DOC media in the same manner as Cd uptake. A competitive model was built to predict the waterborne uptake rate constant of Cd (ku) as a function of Zn and Ca concentrations in the water. Over the range of DOC concentrations we tested, organic matter was shown to influence Cd bioaccumulation in two ways: by modifying Cd speciation and thus its bioavailability and its interaction with the biological membrane, and by affecting the mussel's physiology and therefore its sensitivity to metal. The present study provides a useful means of adjusting the toxicokinetic constant to the water's physicochemical characteristics and proposes a unifying model that takes into account the different geochemical and biological influences on bioaccumulation.